The Best Ages for A Disney Cruise in 2024

Are you interested in a Disney Cruise but need to know if your kids are the right age? Don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place! We recently went through a similar debate with our three kids who were scatted from pre-school to 5th grade. I’m excited to share our insight on the best ages for a Disney Cruise.

If you’ve ever dreamt of sailing away on a magical journey filled with enchantment, laughter, and endless wonder, then look no further than the Disney Cruise Line. With its unique blend of magic, top-notch entertainment, and world-class service, Disney Cruise promises an unforgettable vacation for guests of all ages. 

However, as you know, the age of the passengers can play a significant role in the overall experience. Join us on this journey as we explore the best ages for a Disney Cruise, ensuring that each member of your crew, from the young children to teens, discovers the perfect voyage tailored just for them. So, there’s something for every age group, whether you’re a family with little ones, a group of adventurous teens, or a couple seeking a romantic escape. Let’s journey to find the ideal age for your Disney Cruise adventure!

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Cruise Supplies

Disney Cruise Tips

  • #1 Tip- Swim diapers are NOT allowed in any of the cruise pools and water slides, including the children’s pools. They are allowed in the splash pad areas like Nemo’s Reef and Dory’s Reef.
  • Disney provides complimentary life jackets for young children in pool areas. 
  • Floats and rafts are prohibited in pools.
  • Towels are provided on the pool deck. This is so nice to have to bring back wet towels to your room.
  • Bring sunscreen!
  • Bring a stroller for little ones as there’s a lot of walking.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask your cast member for special requests at meals. If you want your kids’ food to arrive first, then ask! We found this to be so helpful for our youngest. Our dining crew had drinks waiting for the kids when they arrived and brought their dinner before the adults’.

Kids Club Info

If you are new to cruising, dropping your small children to people you don’t know personally can be overwhelming or scary at the onboard kids’ clubs. I can personally attest to the security and efficiency of the programs. Our kids spent time in both the Oceaneer Lab and Edge.

When you arrive on the cruise, you must register your young children. You will be asked a security code to use when you drop off and pick up your kids. Your child’s account will list individuals who have permission to pick up your kid and their picture. 

all ages can enjoy a Disney cruise

Even if you are unsure if you want your young kids to attend the Small World Nursery or Disney’s Oceaneer Club, registering them is still a good idea. You may change your mind and want child care for some adult time. 

You don’t have to worry about security; it is top-notch, and the cast members are there to answer any questions. We went with friends and added them to our account. It was super easy and honestly helpful.

The Oceaneer Lab and Club even offer video games for the older ages in that bracket. Edge for Middle Schoolers organizes games and activities for no extra cost.

Check out my guide on Why I think a Disney Cruise is Worth it

Disney Cruise by Age

Newborn

You are welcome to bring a newborn/young baby on the cruise, but unfortunately, you will not qualify for the nursery services. 

Tips

  • Request a crib for your cabin
  • Bring a stroller or baby carrier 

6 months- 3 years 

If you debate whether to bring babies or toddlers, you definitely can. Most cruise itineraries accept little kids aged six months to 3 years to their It’s a Small World Nursery. As a side note, Panama Canal, Hawaiian, and Transatlantic cruises only accept children one and older. 

My husband and I have planned Disney Theme park trips with babies and toddlers. This age is easier on a Disney Cruise line vacation than the parks. At the parks, if you want to leave for quiet time or a nap, it is a process and takes extensive time. On the cruise, you can take a short walk to your room and maximize the day. 

Splash pad

Pros:

  • The Enchanting Play Nursery is Available on Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream, and Disney Fantasy. The nursery has interactive playtime rooms and a quiet room for children who need to nap.
  • The Disney Wish has three distinct sections in its nursery- a decompression room, a playroom, and a quiet room. 
  • Young children are starting to recognize Disney characters.
  • If it is difficult to make your dinner reservation, there’s room service and quick-service meals. 
  • A splash pad has been created for this age group! Some ships even have a small water slide that your 2-3-year-old can enjoy.

Cons:

  • The nursery is not available to children under six months 
  • The nursery requires reservations and can cost an additional fee.
  • The days can be exhausting for kids.
  • May be difficult to see the longer shows with little ones. 
  • Your child must be potty trained to access any of the pools. 
Disney cast members leave fun towel animals

Tips:

  • Request a crib/pack & play for your cabin. You can do this in the app under My Reservations or have your travel agent take care of it for you. 
  • Bring a stroller or baby carrier. 
  • The nursery has limited space, so I highly recommend making reservations beforehand. I would book some time once you can instead of waiting till the weeks before embarkation day. 
  • The days can be exhausting for kids, so try to keep a nap schedule so they can make it through the day, even if that means a stroller nap. 
  • Try to secure early dining
  • Have low expectations- your kid will cry, have meltdowns, etc. Luckily, you are in the one travel destination that caters to kids, and the cast members have seen everything. 
  • Bring laundry detergent, as there are washers & dryers available. I found this to be a lifesaver for our youngest one. Pack a travel-size pack of detergent- you’ll be glad you did!

4-7

4-7 and 8-11 are sweet spots for a Disney cruise. Our youngest was five, and she loved the “Disney cruise,” as she called it. She asks several times a month when we are coming back, so this is truly the best age. 

water slide for little kids

First of all, this age group can hang better than toddlers. Our five-year-old loved all the shows we attended and had no trouble sitting through them. Although she was a little on the old side, she still enjoyed running through the splash pad and sliding down the toddler slide, but she could ride the big slide with an older sibling or parent. She could also play putt-putt golf too.

This was a great opportunity for our family to try the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. We were short on time on our last Disney trip, and I didn’t want to sacrifice park time. Our itinerary included two full days at sea, which was the perfect opportunity for the glam! 

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Although she doesn’t nap anymore, she crashes every night, and we had no trouble putting her to bed. In the dining rooms, our servers brought her food early at meals, so she wasn’t getting fussy waiting for all the food.

Lastly, this age is still enamored with Disney characters. Every time we saw a princess, her face lit up, and it was pure joy! You also don’t want to wait as long as compared to the Disney theme parks to see your favorite character. 

Pros:

  • Can enjoy the shows, water slides, and pool
  • Still interested in the Disney characters
  • Swept up in the Disney Magic
  • Can go to Disney’s Oceaneer Club or Oceaneer’s Lab so parents have some adult time
  • Excited to dress up on theme nights like Pirate night
  • Perfect age for Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
Amazing shows on the Disney cruise

Cons:

  • Some of the excursions at port days may be too intense for them (ex: parasailing) 
  • Rotational dining can sometimes be long. If you prefer that over-room service, try to order immediately and stress to your servers that you’ll need the food as soon as possible (kindly, of course). Check out my guide on which rotational dining time is ideal for your family.

Tips:

  • If your kids struggle with bedtimes and you want to do the shows, go to the early show and order room service for dinner. 
  • Some kids struggle with the jam-packed days. If they are exhausted but won’t nap, go to the movie theater to take a break in the day, especially from the sun. We did this one day, and it was a perfect break. The kids loved the popcorn (an additional cost).
Disney Cruise

8-11

On our cruise, two of our kids fell into this age group. Although they weren’t as enamored with the Disney characters, they still had a blast. Our cruise had a Marvel theme, so tons of kids in this age group dressed up daily and participated in all the onboard activities related to Marvel. It didn’t interest our boys, but many loved it.

My middle kid tried the Oceaneer Lab a few times but preferred hanging with us. The scavenger hunt was one of his favorite activities on the cruise. 

This age group can maximize most of the opportunities at Castaway Cay. We purchased the bundle of a raft, bike rental, and snorkeling gear. Our youngest couldn’t hang with the biking, but our older two enjoyed all of these activities and the water slides. 

biking on Castaway Cay

Pros:

  • Can take full advantage of most activities
  • Have more energy than longer kids during the day (less likely to have meltdowns- but still can happen)
  • Some may still enjoy all things Disney related 
  • Can stay up later for fireworks 
  • They can sit through the rotational dinner better than the younger kids. 
  • They can order from the quick service line on their own.
  • They can carry their trays in the dining rooms for breakfast and lunch. 

Cons:

  • Some may be growing out of their fascination with Disney
  • They may not like the kids’ club because they feel they are “too old” and that’s for little kids (hapened with our boys)
  • This age may want some freedom, but parents may need help with how much to give their kids in this age range. 
Castaway Cay

Tips:

  • If your oldest isn’t quite old enough for Edge (middle school age club), you can sign a waiver allowing them to enter. We did this, and it was a game-changer. Our oldest loved it!
  • Our kids loved the water slides, but the lines were intense during the day. The lines are empty during the early dinner, so plan on being on the pool deck around 5!

Tweens

Although many middle schools have outgrown the Disney princesses, the cruise still has many great opportunities. Our oldest loved Edge, the club for this age range. The activities were age-appropriate, and our son loved it. 

The tween club on the ships organizes activities throughout the day. Our son could check the app and see the day’s offerings. He enjoyed ping-pong, foosball, and gagaball. My oldest gravitated to some of the athletics,  but video games also exist. 

Outside the club, there’s an exciting water slide, putt-putt golf, basketball courts, movies, and scavenger hunts.

Kids of all ages can enjoy Castaway Cay

Pros:

  • You have so many more options for excursions, such as parasailing 
  • You can easily spend a whole day at Castaway Cay without the kids getting exhausted
  • Tweens can be more independent, which both of you will enjoy. 

Cons:

  • Less interest in Disney characters
  • May want more freedom than you are willing to give. 

Tips:

  • Have a game plan regarding the amount of freedom you want the kids to have BEFORE you board the boat. You can change as the days progress but have some idea of a plan so you aren’t caught off guard. 
  • If you want your tweens to participate in a specific part of the cruise, establish those boundaries beforehand. For instance, family meals are mandatory, etc. 
  • Plan activities and excursions that appeal to your kids in this age range!
Disney Dream has something for all ages

Teens

On our first cruise with Disney, I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of teens on the ship. Of course, many of them have younger siblings, but we saw families of high schoolers and young adults having just as much fun. 

Disney’s Wonder, Magic, Dream, Wish & Fantasy offers a specific club for teens, Vibe. The space is reserved for teens to relax, dance, play games, and have fun. On the Dream & Fantasy, there’s a separate pool deck for teens. 

Pros:

  • Independence
  • Age appropriate activities
  • Can check themselves in and out of Vibe
  • Vibe Club offers activities that appeal to teens 

Cons:

  • Teens may think Disney is for little kids

Tips:

  • If traveling exclusively with teens, consider booking the Dream or Fantasy for their pool deck. 
Disney Cruise pool deck

FAQ: Disney Cruising for All Ages

🚢 Can kids attend the kids club during meals?

Yes, kids can attend the kids club if you want a quiet dinner!

🚢 Can kids attend the kids club on Castaway Cay?

Yes, Disney offers a kids club on Castaway!

🚢 Will adults without kids enjoy a cruise?

Disney is such a magical company that many adults have the same passion as kids. I was impressed with the attention given to adults and the opportunities.

There are adults-only pool areas and numerous bars. There are shows and dance parties. We enjoyed a comedy show one night, followed by a silent disco.

Disney also provides wine & beer tastings as well as mixology classes. One afternoon, a friend and I enjoyed a fun hour in a mixology class.

🚢 Are children under 3 free?

Unfortunately, the free admission policy for kids three and under at the parks doesn’t apply to the cruise. You do have to pay for a child under 3. 

In Conclusion: The Best ages for a Disney cruise in 2024

I hope my guide on the best ages for a Disney cruise helps you plan your next great family adventure.

⭐Disney Resources⭐
Is a Disney Cruise worth it?
Best Ages for a Disney Cruise
My Guide On Disney’s Rotational Dining
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on a Disney Cruise
Best Shoes for Disney for Families
Best Disney Shoes for Women